Having to be postponed for a second time, the area large school teams hope to be able to get underway Friday, with a half dozen games stacked up for the two gymnasiums at the East Hamilton facility.
Meanwhile, the District 5-AA Tournaments slated for Polk County High School are hoping enough snow melts away to be able to get their opening games this evening.
“We will wait until about 1 (p.m., after press time) to make a decision on whether the roads are good enough for Sweetwater to be able to come down,” declared PCHS principal and tournament director Ron German Wednesday.
The high temperature today is supposed to reach into the lower 40s, helping to melt off much of the snow. Both Sweetwater teams are slated to play both Polk County squads in elimination games, with the winners to face top-seeded McMinn Central in the semifinals, as well as earn a spot in next week’s Region 3-AA Tournaments.
“If we can’t play (Thursday), then we’ll back everything up a day and start Friday, with the semifinals to be played Saturday,” he added. “We purposely don’t have games scheduled on Saturdays in our tournament, just for such an occasion as this.”
While 5-AA only has five schools, giving them a little more flexibility, District 5-AAA has seven and doesn’t have the luxury of an extra couple of days. Orignally scheduled to start Wednesday evening, if this second postponement is the last, then a busy six-game slate Friday will put the 5-AAA tournaments back on track Saturday with the semifinals.
However, if Hamilton County schools are cancelled for Friday, then by board policy no games can be played and the 5-AAA event would be pushed back to a Saturday tip off.
As off press time this morning, the plan is for four games Friday in the East Hamilton High School gym, with two more slated for the middle school floor.
The fourth-seeded Cleveland (12-12, 6-6) and No. 5 Ooltewah (5-14, 3-9) girls will start the day’s slate at 3 p.m. on the main hardwood, followed by the second-seeded Ooltewah (15-8, 9-3) boys battling No. 7 McMinn County (3-21, 2-10) at 4:30.
At 6 p.m. both floors will be in action with the third-seeded Cleveland (15-7, 8-4) taking on the host No. 6 seeded East Hamilton (6-20, 3-9) boys in the big gym, while No. 2 McMinn County (9-16, 9-3) girls battle the host Lady Hurricanes in the facility next door.
The night cap games will feature Walker Valley taking on Soddy-Daisy as the fourth-seed Mustangs (18-9, 7-5) battle the No. 5 Trojans (11-13, 3-9) in the main floor, while the third-seeded Lady Mustangs (17-10, 9-3) take on the No. 6 Lady Trojans (6-19, 2-10) in the smaller venue.
With a Region 3-AAA Tournament berth in hand, Friday’s victors will return on Saturday for the district semifinals, where the Walker Valley-Soddy girls winner will tangle with the McMinn-East Hamilton victor at 3 p.m.. In the second girls’ Final Four contest, the Cleveland-Ooltewah survivor will square off against top-seeded Bradley Central (20-5, 11-1) at 4:30.
On the boys’ side of the semifinal ledger, the Cleveland-East Hamilton victor will tangle with the Ooltewah-McMinn survivor at 6 Saturday evening, before the Walker Valley-Soddy winner battles No. 1 seed Bradley Central (14-10, 10-2).
Should Hamilton County schools be cancelled Friday, the tournament will begin with three girls games, Saturday at noon — McMinn-East Hamilton at noon, Walker Valley-Soddy at 1:30 and Cleveland-Ooltewah at 4:30.
The boys would close out Saturday’s play with Ooltewah-McMinn at 4:30, followed by Cleveland-East Hamilton at 6 and Walker Valley-Soddy at 7:30.
Under that scenario, the four semifinal games – two girls and then two boys – would shift to Monday and consolation and championship games would be played on Tuesday. Action on both days would start at 3 p.m.
Over in Benton, if the play-in games are able to take place this evening, the winners would advance to face top-seeded McMinn Central Friday’s final two semifinal games, while the teams from Sequoyah and Loudon are slated to battle in the other Final Four games to open the action at 4:30.
If tonight gets wiped out the 4-5 games will take place Friday, with the semifinals to shift to Saturday. The 5-AA girls consolation and championship will be played Monday, with the boys to do the same on Tuesday evening.